Women, Music, and the Performance of Gentility in the Mid-Nineteenth-Century South


ACLS Project Development Grants




This project explores how women from across the southern United States used music in pursuit of gentility, thereby challenging the modern tendency to assign both gentility and parlor music to the white middle class alone. Through music, women participated in a gendered practice that placed embodied performance within clearly defined social environments. Deploying music as a form of cultural capital, they transformed their social positions and gained power both within and outside of their own circles. The grant will support archival research in Boston and Chicago, as well as course coverage during the academic year.